Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

BG’s front door on East Wooster Street needs serious facelift

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green’s front door is not exactly creating a great first impression for those entering the city. Knowing this, the city and BGSU hired Development Strategies to examine the 1.8 miles of East Wooster from Interstate 75 to the downtown. The firm has spent six months interviewing officials and residents, examining housing data, looking at construction costs, studying the zoning code, and more. On Tuesday evening, Matt Wetli and Anne Stevenson from Development Strategies presented their findings to City Council’s Committee of the Whole. Changes along the East Wooster corridor have the potential to increase jobs, bring more visitors, improve the housing stock, attract more development to the city, and convince more people to live and shop right here in Bowling Green. But the front door needs a facelift. “It’s the way most people come to know Bowling Green,” Wetli said. “First impressions are really important. This corridor is so important.” One of the goals would be to meet the needs of the city residents and the university – an issue Wetli is accustomed to handling “We tend to work in a lot of university communities,” and realize that the health of the city and university are intertwined, he said. The planners divided the 1.8 miles into four sections, with some potential focuses for each – though not all will be affordable for developers right now: Midtown, which are the blocks closest to downtown. Ideally that area would be good for student and young professional apartment buildings, creative office space, street level retail, boutique hotels, and gas station reuse projects.Eds and Meds, which are the blocks next to the university and the Falcon Health Center. That area would work well for other health care services, senior housing, and townhouses.Walkable hospitality district, which includes the blocks with hotels and restaurants. That area would attract more developers and more visitors with stricter zoning building specifications, Wetli said.The interchange area, which will be improved with the proposed roundabouts, and will look better with “gateway” signage. The entire corridor can’t be transformed at once, so “we need to be judicious,” Wetli said. And the community will need to shift from being reactive to proactive. “Things aren’t just going to magically happen,” he said “It’s going to take work.” Wetli talked about the transformation of the Kent State community. “It’s really inspiring what they’ve been able to pull…

BG plant was also targeted for pipe bomb, according to U.S. District Court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Toledo woman arrested for planning a terrorist attack at a Toledo bar was reportedly also plotting an attack at a Bowling Green manufacturing plant. Elizabeth Lecron, 23, was arrested Monday and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack. She was charged with one count of transportation of explosives and explosive material for the purposes of harming others and property. While much of the initial publicity focused on her alleged plans to use a pipe bomb in an unidentified Toledo bar, the arrest warrant from the U.S. District Court revealed that Lecron also planned some type of an attack at her workplace in Bowling Green. The warrant stated that Lecron worked the second shift at an automotive parts manufacturing plant in Bowling Green. Bowling Green Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said this morning that BGPD detectives were contacted last week by the FBI about the upcoming press conference that was held Monday. However, the police division was not notified about the possible threat of a bomb attack. “We weren’t actually consulted,” Mancuso said. FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson said this morning that she could not be more specific about the Bowling Green location mentioned in the arrest warrant. “In our documents we didn’t reveal where she worked,” Anderson said. Anderson explained that oftentimes local law enforcement officials are not contacted, since that’s when information leaks occur. She also said that undercover FBI agents were working closely with Lecron and were aware of the progress of her plans. “We did not feel the public was in danger,” Anderson said. When Lecron actually purchased bomb-making items, she was arrested. “Once she bought the items, that’s when we needed to move,” Anderson said. The arrest of Lecron made national news on Monday. “This defendant bought black powder and hundreds of screws that she expected would be used to make a bomb,” said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Through her words and actions, she demonstrated that she was committed to seeing death and destruction in order to advance hate. This case demonstrates terrorism comes in many guises and we will remain vigilant to protect all Americans.” According to an affidavit filed in the case, Lecron came to the attention of…

Wood County Courthouse featured in Ohio Channel documentary

The Ohio Channel recently completed a documentary on the Wood County Courthouse, featuring interviews with Mike Sibbersen, Judge Dave Woessner and Judge Matthew Reger. Following are some links to the story. Facebook: Ohio Courthouses | Wood CountyOhio Courthouses | Wood CountyWatch Season 5, Episode 2Wood County Historical Center & MuseumPosted by Ohio Channel on Friday, December 7, 2018 Ohio Channel website:

BG to be repairing manholes throughout the city this week

The Bowling Green Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Divisionwill be repairing manholes throughout the city starting at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. It is anticipated that work will be complete at the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 14. This work will occur in the intersection of North Main and West Reed; near the intersection of Ridge and Thurstin; in the intersection of Frazee and Summit; and in the intersection of Leroy and North Enterprise. Lane closures will be temporary with traffic being impacted while workers are present at each location. Questions about this project may be directed to the Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Division at 419-354-6277.

Water boil advisory for section of BG has been lifted

The City of Bowling Green Water Distribution Division has lifted a water boil advisory that had been declared Sunday afternoon for a portion of the city of North College Drive. The advisories are issued if there is a possibility that contaminants may be introduced into the water system. The problem occurred when a valve on a water main on College Drive broke due to soil corrosion eating away the bolts that held the valve onto the waterline.  The valve was repaired and the line put back into service.   It is not uncommon  that corrosive soils eat away at the metal bolts on a valve.  The city installs a sacrificial anode with the repair to extend the life of the repair. 

Melinda Kale named incoming CEO of Work Leads to Independence

(Submitted by Work Leads to Independence) The Board of Directors of Work Leads to Independence (wli), are pleased to announce the appointment of Melinda Kale as the incoming Chief Executive Officer. She will begin her new duties on the first day of January 2019. Melinda has been with Work Leads to Independence since May of 2010, serving in several roles; first with Laser Cartridge Express (Sales Rep. & then LCE Supervisor) and then as a Director and most recently as an Executive Director for wli. She is a Board Member/Officer of Northwest Water & Sewer and the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. She has also served on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities, BG Zonta and the Cocoon Shelter Melinda and her husband, Doug, have four daughters and one granddaughter and live on a family-owned Century old farm in Rudolph. To this new role, Melinda brings a demonstrated commitment to wli and their mission and values, along with a strong team approach in all of her work. It is with great excitement that we welcome Melinda as CEO and look forward to her leadership in the years ahead.

Pampered and primped cats strut their stuff at cat show in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Persian cat named Pink Parasol was primped and pampered – waiting for her time to shine on the cat show stage at the Bowling Green Community Center on Saturday. She was stretched out on cushions, with a coffee filter as a collar around her neck to keep the rest of her coat clean. Next to Pink Parasol was her stage kit – with a spray can of static guard, cosmetic powder, makeup brushes and pads to cover up last minute dirt, and Tic Tac mints. “That’s for me,” owner Zayda Stephens, of Lansing, Michigan, said of the Tic Tacs. Pink Parasol was one of about 120 pets at the Cat Fanciers Show held in Bowling Green. The felines and their owners came to compete from several states – New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. About 120 cats were shown at Cat Fanciers Show in the community center. The shows are a way of life for many of the cat fanciers and their felines. Stephens takes her cats to about three shows a month. And since her cats are Persians, the primping is very time consuming. The cats are bathed twice a week, then blown dry with a professional hair dryer. Pink Parasol, with her 7-inch long hair that makes her look about twice as big as she is, can take up to two hours to dry properly, Stephens said. Most of the breeders at the show pick one type of cat and work to perfect the breed. For Stephens, that’s Persians. “They have a very sweet personality,” which includes a laid back lifestyle, she said. Persians are known for their daily brief energy spurt of about 15 minutes, then they are ready to rest again. “They don’t climb the curtains.” Stephens has been breeding Persians for about 15 years. She confessed it is very difficult to part with kittens – but added that it’s better for them to not have to share an owner with too many others. “It’s best if they can have their own lap,” she said. Judge Gary Powell looks over an American Wirehaired cat. The cat show was put on by the Cat Fanciers Association, which has been the “premier” cat organization since 1906, according to the show organizer, Debbie Allgire of Bowling Green. Six judging stations were set up for the competition. In addition to…

Water boil advisory issued for parts of BG and campus

The City of Bowling Green Water Distribution Division has issued a water boil advisory for a portion of the city. The advisories are issued if there is a possibility that contaminants may be introduced into the water system. The official customer notification for a Water Boil Advisory will be a door hanger left at the affected building or property.  Click here for an example Water Boil Advisory Door Hanger. The water boil advisory is in affect for North College Avenue for following addresses: 750 N. College Ave. 801 N. College Ave. 812 N. College Ave. 715 Leroy Ave. 600 E. Poe Road 816 Park Ave. 820 Park Ave. 802 E. Merry Ave. Occupants of the following BGSU buildings should not drink the water: Falcon Heights, the Jordan Family Development Center, the BCI building, Technology building, Architecture building, College Park Office Building, the Shuttle Office, and maintenance building. People in those buildings are advised to use bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation. The water is safe for bathing. BGSU is working on providing bottled water for residents of Falcon Heights. It will be available at the front desk. Contaminants may enter the water system when a water main is depressurized.  The City will make the necessary repairs to restore the water service as soon as possible.  After the repairs are made, the water system will be flushed, samples will be taken, and bacteriological testing will be performed to ensure all drinking water standards are met.  A Water Boil Advisory will be in effect until 12:00 PM three (3) days after the Advisory is issued.  If the Water Boil Advisory needs to be extended, the affected customers will be notified.

BG, county need to present ‘welcoming’ face to attract workers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A few years ago it was the lack of jobs in this region that was troubling. Now it’s the lack of people to fill the jobs being created here. So Bowling Green officials are looking to team up with Wood County to attract immigrants and millennials to the region.  Last week, the two entities discussed how to compete to attract those workers. “Employment issues are still top of the line,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “It’s an issue we’ve all heard a million times.” “The labor pool has shrunk a lot in Northwest Ohio,” and the population is aging, Gottschalk said during a meeting of the economic development commission on Wednesday. “We just need more bodies,” he said. Sue Clark, Bowling Green’s economic development director, hears the same concerns. Jobs Ohio recently released statistics showing 9,200 jobs available within a 20-mile radius of Bowling Green. “Where will the people come from to fill these jobs,” she said. Clark has listened to the worries of small “mom and pop” shops and of large manufacturers. “We all know this is a very serious issue.” The headlines look great – about new companies moving into or expanding in the region. But the reality is that some of those new jobs siphon people away from existing businesses – which may lead to their closings or moving from the region. “If they simply steal employees from our existing companies,” without those workers being replaced by others, “none of us want that,” Clark said. So on Wednesday, Bowling Green officials shared their plan with county officials, in hopes that the entities could team up to attract workers to the region. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards introduced the Welcome BG Task Force concept of attracting, supporting and maintaining a workforce – both skilled and unskilled. “We want to reach out and assist legal immigrants,” Edwards said. “America desperately needs more workers,” he said. Other cities have had success with such “welcoming” programs, like Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and Dayton, the mayor said. “The immigrant community has been such a huge driver for new small businesses and filling manufacturing spots” in those cities, said Margaret Montague, head of the Welcome BG Task Force. The U.S. Census showed Wood County’s population grew 3.65 percent from 2000 to 2010.  The number of youth and working age residents…

Community Learning Center of Conneaut working to save rainforests

(Submitted by the Community Learning Center) “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to change the world.” –Anne Frank And the Community Learning Center of Conneaut did just that. When students learned of an issue at hand, they did not waste any time in discussing ways they could help! It all started with simply reading Afternoon on the Amazon, Magic Treehouse Book #6 during the program’s scheduled curriculum, Challenge Centers. While reading the book, students learned about the Amazon rainforest, wildlife that reside there, and the importance of the rainforest to all living species. The Amazon Rainforest makes up more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and is sometimes known as “the lungs of the Earth.” Throughout the curriculum, students completed various projects such as a rainforest mural, bark painting, and rainforest animal research and drawings. During discussions about the rainforest, Anna, a 7-year-old student, suggested writing to a senator to explain the importance and recommend ways to help protect it. Students and staff worked together to craft a letter to Senator Portman outlining what they have learned about the rainforest and why we should make strides to protect it. In the letter, students gave their thoughts and feelings about the rainforest and why it is significant. Here is what some had to say: “Trees make oxygen for us and cutting down the trees makes it harder to breathe.” (Eddie) “Other people need medicines that come from plants in the rainforest.” (Charlie) “Plants and animals die when we cut down the forest, some we don’t even know about.” (Kate) Students even suggested to make Earth Day longer, by making it “Earth Week.” Site Supervisor, Carrie Walland, took it upon herself to find a way to ensure the letter was sent. She did some research and found an email address for Senator Rob Portman. She sent the letter off, hoping that someone would at least read what her students found so important. What I don’t think they were expecting was a letter back from the Senator himself! In his letter, Senator Portman outlined his various acts, which help preserve rainforests around the world, improve water and natural resources, and protect threatened wildlife species. Senator Portman also stated, “I will continue to pursue opportunities to protect our natural treasures, because I want our children and grandchildren to inherit a world with nature’s wonders intact.” The…

Wood County manufacturing sees $750 million investment this year

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County saw $750 million invested this year in industries making fresh hamburger patties, glass for solar panels, auto parts and more. “That is a record as far as I can tell – and by a lot,” Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission, said Wednesday during a commission meeting. The investments spread from the far north to the far south of the county. West of North Baltimore, the NorthPoint Development Co. announced plans to construct a logistics development near the CSX rail hub. “There’s a lot to be done still,” but the project is progressing, Gottschalk said. And the CSX hub is also expecting to start doing more business, and serving a wider geographic area, he added. In the village of North Baltimore, Continental Structural Products is expanding its auto parts production. “They were slated to close during the recession, and they are now coming back with a vengeance,” Gottschalk said. The plant is on track to rival its highest production back when it was supplying parts for Fieros, he said. And just east of North Baltimore, the Equity Meats plant has made the shift from frozen patties to fresh hamburger patties. Anyone ordering a McDonald’s quarter-pounder in the Northeast U.S. will get a taste. “It’s coming from Wood County,” Gottschalk said. In the northern part of the county, NSG-Pilkington has secured all the necessary local regulatory approvals for its plant in Troy Township. The plant, which will manufacture float glass for the new First Solar plant, is expected to be in operation in 2020. “That’s a big project,” he said. The new First Solar plant in Lake Township is also progressing well. “It’s an absolutely massive facility out there,” Gottschalk said.. In Perrysburg Township, the expansion of the Walgreens distribution center is underway. The project is expected to create 350 new jobs. “It’s a big project and good for long-term,” he said. Retention visits from the Wood County Economic Development Commission have also found operations well at Biofit near Haskins, and Jerl Machine in Perrysburg. The O-I site in Perrysburg is “doing very well” and considering an expansion of its research and development area, with a focus on training. “Changing over from one thing to another is not a simple process,” Gottschalk said. Gottschalk reported to commission members that announcements of more investments in Wood County may…

Treatment of suicidal and other behaviors to be offered in Wood County

(Submitted by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board) The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS Board) is concluding almost a year of training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is an effective treatment for people who have multiple problems including suicide, self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorder along with depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The ADAMHS Board selected the Treatment Implementation Collaborative, LLC, a Seattle based training organization that is staffed with internationally recognized experts in DBT to lead the training. TIC sent trainers to Wood County on five occasions for 3 days each. Leadership from community mental health providers began the training sequence by meeting with TIC trainers to discuss the mental health issues in the area and how DBT can be implemented to help consumers and their families. After the leadership “kickoff” mental health providers attended 12 days of training to learn the treatment, practice with each other and to begin treating consumers. It is was a rigorous training sequence with homework and tests between each part. DBT is a treatment that believes that suicidal and other behaviors only decrease if the consumer builds a “Life Worth Living.” Consumers in DBT attend 3 ½ hours of treatment a week: 2 ½ hours of a “group” or class where new behaviors are learned and 1 hour of individual psychotherapy where what is learned in group is applied to consumers’ lives. DBT is known for being one of the first treatments in which psychotherapists provided their consumers with 24/7 access to themselves. Consumers in DBT are encouraged to contact their therapists between sessions for “coaching” in which new behavioral skills to use for specific situations in their lives and to support consumers as they make changes that ultimately decrease and end out of control behavior. DBT has gained in popularity in the mental health field because of its rigorous scientific studies to examine its effectiveness in treating consumers. The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board advocates, plans, develops, funds, manages and evaluates community-based mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Wood County. To connect to local mental health and addiction services, DIAL 2-1-1 or to get in to contact with the Wood County ADAMHS Board, call (419) 352-8475.

University Women of BGSU to hold annual holiday party

(Submitted by the University Women of BGSU) The University Women of Bowling Green State University will host their annual Holiday Party on Friday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 p.m.  The location for this gala event is again the home of Dr. Roger and Mrs. Barbara Sanchez, 720 Brittany Ave., Bowling Green. The party is open to all UW members and spouses, as well as interested guests. Those attending are asked to bring a hearty appetizer and beverage of their choice. Dessert is provided. Joe Baker and Bob Manley will provide musical entertainment throughout the evening. Those attending are also invited to take part in the UW Community Service Project, a tradition that continues in 2018. The committee, under the guidance of Anne Bullerjahn, will provide food, clothing, books and toys for several area needy families for the holiday season.  Cash donations for the project will be collected at the party. Anyone who is unable to attend the Dec. 14 event but would still like to make a donation, may mail a check to Bullerjahn by Friday. For more information on the University Women organization, or to download a membership form, visit the website at

BG meeting to focus on East Wooster corridor

The Bowling Green City Council Committee of the Whole will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m. in the Council Chamber located in the City Administrative Services Building, 304 N. Church St., to hear a presentation from Development Strategies regarding the East Wooster Street Corridor.

State funding options for schools can be slippery issue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A glimmer of hope has gotten dimmer for one state funding option for Bowling Green City Schools. During a presentation last month, one of the state funding options for school facilities looked promising … until a task force member asked more questions. The Bowling Green district is at least a decade down on the list for funding from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. So when Steve Roka, senior planning manager with the OFCC, met with the district’s finance task force and presented the option of funding through the state’s Exceptional Needs Program, it sounded worth pursuing. However, when Roka answered follow-up questions through email from task force members, the chance for funding anytime soon looked more remote. Roka said during the meeting that ENP funding typically covers only the very worst buildings in the state – such as those with dangerous electric systems. The funding can only be used for new buildings, not renovations. David Conley, the district’s consultant through Rockmill Financial, referred to the ENP as a “beauty contest,” with the ugliest building in the state winning. Roka presented the ENP option as a way Bowling Green could accelerate possible state funding. And many felt that at least one building in the Bowling Green district might be in poor enough shape to be worthy of those funds. “It sounded like we could apply for and get funding in that program,” Conley said. “It sounded good to me, too.” But when task force members asked further questions about the Exceptional Needs Program, the chances of that funding seemed to disappear. One task force member asked about the pending applications, the deadline for submission, and the timeline for a project. Roka responded that there are currently no ENP applications pending review. Roka added that the OFCC is not seeking new applications for the ENP. “Because of the number of districts eligible for funding through our primary program – the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program – ENP applications are not being received by OFCC for the current planning cycle. No determination has been made as to when OFCC will reopen the application process for the ENP program,” Roka wrote. The Exceptional Needs Program funding may have been a stretch anyway for Bowling Green School District. To qualify, a school facility must be in horrendous condition. “The building has to be putting students in harm’s way,” Conley…